Set Up

I seem to have reached the age where my aunties are trying to set me up with men they know. Or, men they don’t know, as the case may be.

A few days ago I got an email from my aunt about the son of a lady in her building who is ‘very nice and very interesting’. He’s an artist, and (I’m assuming) single. And he owned a dog once. She told me to google him and tell her what I thought.

Mildly amused by this, and not 100% sure yet that this was, in fact, a set up (my aunt also likes buying art, so I thought there was still the slim possibility that she genuinely just wanted to know what I thought of it) I googled him. There wasn’t a lot about him on his website, but I browsed through some of the pics of his art, which, to be honest, look pretty interesting. Having said that, visual art is not my forte, so I don’t have a lot of experience talking about or evaluating this kind of thing.

I wrote my aunt back and said something similar, deliberately playing stupid because I was still feeling out her intentions, and asked if she was thinking of buying a piece. Oh no no, she wrote back, too expensive. She then mentioned how great it is that ‘he even cuts his hair!’

Well that clinched it for me, she was trying to set me up. (The last comment is a jab at two or three of my ex boyfriends who at one time or another in our respective relationships had long shaggy hair). She then followed up again, asking me more about the themes of his art. (Tbh I just have no idea how to talk thematically about this kind of art, and I was headed out the door, so I haven’t replied to that yet).

And I mean look, there’s nothing wrong with this man (probably) and there’s nothing wrong with set ups THEORETICALLY  – my parents met because their friends set them up. My friend’s sister just got married to a man that she had been set up with via a mutual friend.

AND YET. And yet. I mean, this man looks interesting, and he probably is? But I just… I find online dating hard enough. And that’s already after someone has provided several photos, answered profile questions, answered survey questions. What do I even know about this man? It’s like being on bloody tinder, where I have one photo of him and I know what his profession is. Part of me wants to send my aunt a survey for him to fill out before I’d even consider this. (Is religion important to you? Do you think abortion should be legal? Do you think women are obligated to shave their legs? What are your views on Brexit? etc)

Even then… I mean the chances that he and I will really like each other are so slim. The chances we will fancy each other are even slimmer. And then if I decide it’s a ‘no’ (which, let’s be honest, it probably would be, just statistically) then NOT ONLY do I have to reject this man (unless we reject each other) I ALSO have to reject my aunt’s plan. And she is a great lady in lots of ways, but hearing soft ‘no’s is not one of her strengths. And I don’t want to have to justify why I don’t like someone. That is just like, so much stress.

If a good friend of mine wanted to set me up, that would be one thing, because they know me and my values better than my aunt can, and I’d hope they’d know the person they wanted to set me up with pretty well also. I love my aunt and while I think it is so, so sweet that she wants to help, that she just wants the best for me, she really doesn’t know those things about me on a deep level. While it’s fine that this man cuts his hair and once owned a dog, these aren’t actually the top of my list of things to check off about someone? I get the sense that she likes the idea of this person, and I understand that kind of reaction, and I appreciate the thought. But I suspect she doesn’t quite understand the layers of complexity and stress this might cause for me.

In the meantime I’ll amuse myself by imagining what his mother might be saying to him, about me.